Palisades News Letters: Deep Appreciation for Mitzi Blahd

Deep Appreciation for Mitzi Blahd

Mitzi Blahd, a Rustic Canyon resident who died recently, was a fabulous and fearless fundraiser on behalf of the Palisades Branch Library. As a member of our Friends of the Library board, she would go up to anyone and ask for money to benefit the library, and people had trouble denying her. As a result, she was able to raise the funds necessary to renovate the building that was over 30 years old, and showed its age. The passing of Proposition D, however, seemed to render Mitzi’s efforts useless, since the City of L.A. was going to tear down the entire structure, and start from scratch.

Pacific Palisades resident and philanthropist Mitzi Blahd speaks at an SMC Board of Trustees meeting. Blahd donated $1 million to the SMC Foundation in Professor Harvey Stromberg’s honor.
Pacific Palisades resident and philanthropist Mitzi Blahd speaks at an SMC Board of Trustees meeting. Blahd donated $1 million to the SMC Foundation in Professor Harvey Stromberg’s honor.

Efforts not wasted! Thanks to Mitzi’s fundraising, we were able to upgrade much of the new building and fixtures with Mitzi fighting like crazy for every item (including a dishwasher). And, in the end, there was enough money left over from her $1,000,000 campaign to re-do the landscaping and to maintain it.

We at the library, and in Pacific Palisades, owe Mitzi Blahd a heartfelt thank you.

Alice Inglis
Co-President, Friends of the Palisades Library




Panhandling Should Be Redefined

Panhandling is an ugly word that sheds a prejudiced light on a person who may be hungry and has no money to buy even a small candy bar. It is very difficult for a person like myself, who has breakfast in a good restaurant and knows she will have a nice dinner, to watch a person going through garbage cans looking for something to satisfy hunger and to just say “no” to giving a little help or to turn away from the problem.

Recently a friend and I bought 60 sandwiches to give to people on the street and in alleys, people who looked broken and in need. Of the 60 recipients, 59 of them gave us the most profuse thanks and blessings. We also told them where they can find help on a more regular basis. On two different occasions there was a man screaming obscenities. Each time I walked up to the screaming person and handed him some food, the screaming stopped and he ate. If a person can’t earn a living for one reason or another and is surrounded by food establishments, how does he or she act?

Panhandling might be a cry for help in a world too deaf to hear.

The Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce accepts donations of used clothing that will be sent to OPPC, an organization dedicated to helping the homeless. This clothing may be a piece in the puzzle to make people whole again.

Ella Zarky


Zimmer Does Not Support Charters

For the past 18 years, I have served as an elected member of three governing boards at Palisades Elementary, Paul Revere and Palisades High. I have also participated in writing three charter renewal petitions for these schools. My three children are recent graduates of the Pali Complex as well.

LAUSD’s April 3 legislation restricting autonomies given to public charter schools impacts the Palisades Complex. [Board chairman] Steve Zimmer’s decision is both irresponsible and unwarranted.

1.) The proposed legislation gives LAUSD the authority to deny renewal of charter if it “creates a financial hardship for the district.” This is particularly disconcerting because LAUSD is not fiscally solvent. LAUSD has $13.6 billion in unfunded liabilities, pensions are unfunded by 20 percent and this year they have a $500-million budget deficit.

Monica Ratliff pleaded with her fellow board members not to pass this resolution as all charters could be denied and revoked. This bill would also remove the right to appeal a decision made by the District to the County and State Boards of Education. This appeal process is critical for schools like New West, where I know some of our Palisades residents send their kids. LAUSD denied New West earlier this year, as they have previously, and it’s only thanks to this appeal process that we have this school. With leadership like Zimmer, schools like Pali and New West are threatened directly.

2.) LAUSD’s oversight of charters is already rigorous. I have experienced this first-hand over the last 18 years. The Charter Schools Division within LAUSD has annual visits and every five years charters go through a lengthy renewal process. Petitioners seeking to open a new charter school before approval is granted, must present a charter petition that includes sixteen elements along with other legal requirements.

3.) Pali High became an independent charter to ensure autonomy and fiscal stability. Pali’s unionized teachers took a risk and they strive each day to create a wonderful learning environment for 3,000 students from 100 zip codes. One-third of this student population is at the poverty level. Pali’s graduation rates are around 96 percent, with 92 percent going to college.

By contrast, one out of four students are not graduating from LAUSD, and of those who do graduate, more than half cannot attend a state college or university.

Under Zimmer’s watch, the district has not addressed serious fiscal matters that will now result in larger class sizes, laying off teachers and cuts in instructional time.

This race will likely be decided by a few percentage points. Last time around, fewer than 2,000 votes made the difference between a progressive board and the status quo. I ask you to vote for Nick Melvoin on May 16.

Allison Holdorff Polhill

Palisades News welcomes all letters, which may be emailed to Please include a name, address and telephone number so we may reach you. Letters do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Palisades News.

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